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28s gang case: Defence claims witnesses gave false evidence

The court today heard some state witnesses had wrongfully implicated several convicts.

An alleged leader of the 28s gang, George Thomas, and his 17 co-accused in court on 4 May 2015, they collectively face 166 charges ranging from murder to attempted murder. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The defence in the trial of 16 convicted henchmen of 28s gang boss George 'Geweld' Thomas on Monday claimed some state witnesses delivered false testimony in court.

In closing argument in mitigation of sentence, the court heard some state witnesses had wrongfully implicated several convicts.

The 16 men were found guilty on various counts including murder and attempted murder ordered by Thomas.

The defence has painted grim pictures of economic struggles and broken homes to win sympathy in the Western Cape High Court.

One defence advocate, Gerhard Johannes Badenhorst, says his client was coerced into joining the 28s gang through peer pressure in prison.

He adds his client, guilty of attempted murder, was last convicted 14 years ago and has been an awaiting trial inmate at Goodwood Prison for more than six years.

Badenhorst also argued a state witness deliberately delivered false testimony to implicate another convicted murderer, Ashraf Ryklief.

Judge Chantel Fortuin was again asked to take into account the time the men already spent behind bars and the clean records they maintained while awaiting trial.